In today’s Sunday Times newspaper there is a disturbing report that reveals that predators flock to teen app Snapchat, as a ‘haven’ for child abuse.
Police are investigating three cases of child exploitation a day linked to the app, but messages that self-destruct are allowing groomers to avoid detection.
Police are investigating three child sexual exploitation cases a day that involve Snapchat.
The photo-messaging app is loved by teenagers for its funny selfies and auto-deleting messages, but it has become a “haven” for predators using the platform to prey on the young.
A Sunday Times investigation has laid bare for the first time the extent of child sexual exploitation on the app, uncovering thousands of reported cases that have involved Snapchat since 2014.
This includes paedophiles using the app to elicit indecent images from children and to groom teenagers, but also hundreds of cases in which under-18s have themselves spread child pornography through Snapchat.
Snapchat was founded in 2011 by Evan Spiegel with Reggie Brown and Bobby Murphy, his classmates at Stanford University, California.
What Is Snapchat?
The picture-messaging app has proven to be a global phenomenon since its release and today boasts more than 100 million daily users worldwide. Snapchat allows its users to communicate through pictures and videos taken on their smartphone.
Moreover, the “story” feature lets users post a daily picture or video updates for their followers to see for up to 24 hours. Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel stated that 60 percent of Snapchat’s users were sending pictures to their “friends” directly or to their stories.
It’s vitally important that younger people, especially children and their parents, are given a thorough introduction to Snapchat and how it works.
While it retains many regulatory standards associated with social media, the threat of building relationships with strangers who lie about their true identity is just one of the many safety risks linked to the app.
Here are some of the reasons why your children should be vigilant before delving into the mind-boggling world of Snapchat:
Snapchat isn’t a video game, nor is it a traditional method of social media. It’s ground-breaking approach to chatting and communicating with friends and family is focused on simplicity and ease of use.
This means that almost anyone, including young children, could download the app onto a smartphone and get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Monitoring software with Parental Controls allows trusted adults to keep a close eye on children’s online activities.
Snapchat’s user-friendly design means that parents should consider introducing it to their kids very carefully and provide support as often as possible.